VILSBIBURG, Germany — Record-setting Bowling Green State University 5-foot-10 outside hitter Katelyn Meyer may have used up her NCAA eligibility, but she is still playing volleyball.
Meyer has been playing professionally for the Vilsbiburg Red Ravens II in Vilsbiburg, Germany, just outside Munich, since Sept. 9, and was named game MVP in her first pro match.
Playing in the Bundesliga league, she is loving it.
“It has been a lot of fun and such a good experience so far and it hasn’ t even been half the time I’ll be here,” Meyer said, talking to the Sentinel-Tribune by phone.
An All-Ohio volleyball player and state high jump champion at Eastwood, at BGSU Meyer became the first Falcon to earn first team All-Mid-American Conference honors four times, setting a program record for career attack attempts (5,017).
Meyer is second all-time in career kills (1,693), was the MAC Tournament MVP in 2020-21, a six-time MAC Player of the Week honoree, and four times she was named to an all-tournament team.
Meyer did have to hire an agent before turning professional. She doesn’t expect to get rich, but that is OK. She may have to get promoted to the Red Ravens I team to get an even better contract, but that could be down the road.
“There is an American on the first team (Red Ravens I) here and they are a combination from all over the place — from The Netherlands, Denmark, you name it,” Meyer said.
“You can make a living doing this. There is one girl on the first team — she is 30 years old and she has made this her career for as long as she’s been able to do it — for as long as your body allows it.
“You don’t make a ton of money. I think some people do, it just depends on what league you are in and where you are playing. I’m not very knowledgeable on what this is like because I’m kind of here for the experience.”
Meyer says the competition in the second Bundesliga league is different than the MAC because of the players’ ages.
“Something honest, it was not what I was expecting. A lot of the girls are a lot younger,” Meyer said.
“This is more developmental to get people up into that. It’s like a lot younger than what it used to be, but I am playing girls younger and older than me. Each team has a handful of really good players.”
She says the second league is less demanding, which means she’ll return home for the holidays, which she is “thankful for.” After the holidays she returns to Vilsbiburg.
By the time she returns home on Dec. 20, the Red Ravens will have played every team in the league once, and then once again after the holidays with a tournament to end the season in May.
It is not just the competition she is adjusting to, it is the fans and the arenas they play in.
“I’ve noticed that (that the arena) is a little smaller than Bowling Green, but they are still nice facilities,” Meyer said.
“They are nice places, but the fans that come, there is always someone on a drum or cowbell. There is always this small fanbase that comes to I think almost every game to cheer for us. The first team does, too.”
Learning culture, too
Meyer is enjoying the German lifestyle.
“I like the way they live life here. It’s different,” Meyer said. “They are all caught up with technology and everything, but it’s not like everywhere in your face like in America.
“They’re restaurants aren’t filled with TVs and stuff. Everyone still talks to each other a lot more.”
However, when it comes to futbol, or soccer as we call it in America, it’s a different story. The passion is overwhelming.
“I was just in a beer hall with my uncle and aunt in Munich and they were getting ready for a soccer game that started at 9 p.m. and we were there at 2 p.m., and the whole place was shouting these songs and saying these chants,” Meyer said.
“I had no idea what they were saying because it is all in German, but they still had eight hours before this game starts, so they are all wound up.”
When Meyer gets the chance, she hits the road to do her own sightseeing.
“It’s really cool. We have actually had a few weekends off so I’ve been able to look around,” Meyer said.
“The Alps are not too far away, so I’ve been able to see the mountains down south, and I was in Bavaria, and I’m learning that’s like it’s owns separate thing from the rest of Germany,” Meyer said.
“They do a lot of things different. They have taken up a saying they have for welcoming someone. You say ‘hi,’ they say “seavus”, and it’s like aloha in Hawaiian where its like their hello, their goodbye, their greeting word, but the rest of Germany doesn’t use that.”
Plus, the Germans are making sure she gets the chance to learn culture, too.
“The girls who aren’t from Germany, we take a German class twice a week,” Meyer said. “So, I’m learning the language and in some of the smaller towns, the older people who work at the cafes and restaurants, some of them only speak a little bit of English.
“I think they do amazing, but they are like, ‘Oh, I am not very good at it,’ but I can order in German and say a few phrases in German.”
The daughter of Jon and Kristen Meyer, Katelyn is of German descent, so she plans to meet with relatives who still live in “the old country.”
“Before I came over, I actually talked to my Grandma and Grandpa Meyer, and they gave me an address to my family up north that I’ve never talked to or met, but that will be a really cool opportunity to meet them,” Meyer said.